Putting on the Ritz to feature unique, fun cuisine


By Scott Witten - [email protected]



Morrison chefs Christopher Aquilino, left, and Patrick McDonnell with a some of the menu items to be served during the Nov. 7. black-tie gala to be held on the campus of Scotland Memorial Hospital.


Christopher Aquilino, a senior executive chef with Morrison Health Services, adds a cappuccino foam to a cold French press coffee. The drink — to accompany a brownie sprinkle cookie — is one of the many items to be served at the upcoming Putting on the Ritz.


LAURINBURG —The band Mr. Potato Head will perform at this year’s Putting on the Ritz — A Gala of Giving.

But it is the food that will take center stage.

Prepared by a team of chefs from throughout the region, the Ritz menu of gourmet delights will run the gamut from Mediterranean to Latin to souped-up Southern staples. Guests will be greeted by an inexhaustible buffet of entrees, appetizers and desserts.

“The food is a huge part of this event, ”said Kirsten Dean, Scotland Memorial Foundation executive director.

The 22nd annual gala will held Nov. 7 beginning at 6 p.m. The black-tie affair will be held under a 14,800-square-foot tent on the Scotland Memorial Hospital campus.

“We tried to make it regional and exciting with foods that people were familiar with and then take it up a notch,” said Patrick McDonnell, the corporate chef for Morrison Healthcare Food Services for North Carolina and South Carolina.

That includes dishes like deviled eggs with bourbon infused bacon or crayfish beignets. Or something McDonnell calls Southern antipasto — fresh cantaloupe wrapped prosciiutto.

“Everything is fresh and made from scratch,” said Morrison chef Christopher Aquilino. “Not only are we making food that is great, but it is inspiring our team for the next year.”

Organizers have been working for the last four months to pull the diverse menu together.

Dean said the chefs propose the menu and gala organizers “tweak it.”

“They always put together a menu that is so fantastic that there are not a lot of changes,” she said. “It always gets outstanding reviews.

“One things we’re bring back is the salted caramel ice cream for dessert. Everyone raved about that. But they do a terrific job with all the items.”

About 10 to 12 chefs plan to take part in the event with a total crew of about 20 people, according to McDonnell. He said the chefs volunteer their time to the Ritz.

“It is great event for us,” McDonnell said. “It means doing something nice for the hospital, but it is also a wonderful time of camaraderie for those preparing the food. After it is over, we all end up at Champs doing the karaoke thing. It is by far the most fun event we do all year long.”

About 425 people attended last year’s Ritz gala and organizers are anticipating even more guests this year. Tickets start at $500.

The event also includes a raffle for one of three prizes: $10,000 in cash, a Gator XUD 855D, or a 2015 Fiat Pop 500.

“We have the best time planning the Ritz,”said Nancy Adcock, a member of the Scotland Memorial Foundation board of trustees. “I always say it is a labor of love because we try to do a really good job, and we never want to lose sight of the fact this is a fund raiser. We appreciate the community and their guests coming out to support it and help raise the funds so we can distribute them in the community that we serve.”

For information, contact the Scotland Memorial Foundation Office at 910-291-7543.

Morrison chefs Christopher Aquilino, left, and Patrick McDonnell with a some of the menu items to be served during the Nov. 7. black-tie gala to be held on the campus of Scotland Memorial Hospital.
http://laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_IMG_17852.jpgMorrison chefs Christopher Aquilino, left, and Patrick McDonnell with a some of the menu items to be served during the Nov. 7. black-tie gala to be held on the campus of Scotland Memorial Hospital.

Christopher Aquilino, a senior executive chef with Morrison Health Services, adds a cappuccino foam to a cold French press coffee. The drink — to accompany a brownie sprinkle cookie — is one of the many items to be served at the upcoming Putting on the Ritz.
http://laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_IMG_17832.jpgChristopher Aquilino, a senior executive chef with Morrison Health Services, adds a cappuccino foam to a cold French press coffee. The drink — to accompany a brownie sprinkle cookie — is one of the many items to be served at the upcoming Putting on the Ritz.

http://laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_IMG_1782.jpg

By Scott Witten

[email protected]

Reach editor Scott Witten at 910-506-3023

Reach editor Scott Witten at 910-506-3023

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